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Archive for August, 2010

Last week was really fun.  I figured I could hear from everyone there about their own experiences in church in the past to help me see how different people react to different church settings. I also pictured then taking these two approaches for church and trying to find a middle ground…a sort of Venn Diagram effect, if you will–where I could begin to see what is the ideal church setting for myself somewhere in the middle.

In the end I came away feeling like there isn’t really a true perfect balance or middle ground between a contemporary and conservative church, although some of us expressed truly feeling their own church did balance this quite well. So I alone came away feeling like church on this earth is so imperfect I should not really be seeking that perfect balance. I should seek godly people to surround myself with and to be a part of this community–imperfections and all. More than anything I feel like I should be more concerned with my own offering of worship on Sunday (and all the other days) than I am about the makeup of the service itself.

But this got me to thinking. What is the point of prayer exactly? I mean, they pray in church for people who are sick or injured or going through a rough time. We pray before meal times. We pray to praise God and to bring our sorrows to Him.  But WHY? Do we really think God won’t do anything if we don’t pray? What is it doing exactly? Will God cease to work miraculously in our lives if we don’t pray?  Let’s discuss!

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A comment was made last week by one of the people in the pub that when taking communion the week before, he felt they’d just kind of “rushed it” and didn’t take it very seriously. Little was said, it was just kind of “something to do during one of the songs.” Do modern churches water down the true Gospel to make it as inoffensive as possible? Is “Gospel-lite” that is actually heard better than “Gospel Supreme” which weirds people out?

So therein lies our discussion for this week. Let us weigh in the two extremes and perform a little cost/benefit analysis. In one corner, we have a church which is very modern. They have modern sounding music. You can come dressed however you wish–you may not even be sitting in a “pew” but a chair or even around  a table of some sort. It’s very comfortable and non-confrontational–totally not what your non-christian friends think church is like.

In the other corner lies a church where they use antiquated terms “thee” and “thou” and call other believers “brethren” (creepy, right?). In this church, they sing hymns written usually 100-200 years ago in a style far removed from anything one would find on the average person’s iPod playlist. The tone of the service is very traditional and challenging to follow.

On one hand, I find myself quite uncomfortable sitting a service that is being played out like some folks’ idea of how church was done 100 years ago. I mean, isn’t God living and active in this world? Why are they clinging to lost ways? But on the other hand, the reverence with which they approach God inspires and humbles me.

In a more “comfortable” church, the message can potentially be stated in a manner more clearly understood by a contemporary audience (didn’t Jesus speak in what was then considered contemporary terms, after all? Can anyone say parable?). However, is this sometimes carried so far as to make people place their lives first and their faith second? They only come because it’s comfortable and it “fits”?

I see merit and fault in both approaches. I will leave you with two videos which I feel poke fun at both extremes. See you Tuesday 17th at 7pm!

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I ran across this recently…seemed appropriate to watch in view of this week’s court ruling. Whether one agrees or not, the Christians in the video make a statement I find terribly disturbing, “we just ignore THOSE verses.”

To me, Tuesday nights at Alehouse Pub is not about necessarily finding the world’s most profound answer to theological questions (although it’s fun when it happens), but rather to prevent myself and others from ever being able to make the same statement as the Christians in this video. Come on Tuesdays prepared to challenge what one thinks…to HEAR those other verses, and to be the one who shares those “other” verses with everyone else.

…and the beer is great. Enjoy the video.

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Reminder: NO MEETING THIS WEEK. NEXT MEETING IS AUGUST 10th.

Last week’s discussion of sin was intriguing. We’ve all heard of the various descriptions of what sin is…in essence it’s the putting of ourselves before God…but the interesting question was raised by Jake, “okay, great….so why do I care?” It’s sometimes fun to attempt to figure out things like the essence of sin, but it’s another thing entirely to have a true reason to actually care why this information is valuable. I can’t speak for everyone there, but for me at least, I know I care about the nature of sin because I can’t come back into fellowship with God before I first see that I have removed myself from Him in some way. Once I’ve recognized it I can turn back to Him.

But I digress…this week (August 10th) is about divine healing. We’ve all seen the crazy preachers on the t.v. heal those in wheelchairs and cast out demons…or at least they appear to be doing these things. Although there are certainly charlatans out there, why do we so quickly discount miraculous healing when the Bible is very explicit about God’s healing power in our lives. Perhaps even worse, what does that say about our faith, that we doubt so completely in God that we can’t bring our disease and injuries to Him?

For me, this is not a question answered simply by talking about God’s healing power. One’s answer in this matter hinges quite profoundly on how one view’s God’s relationship with the world today. How active is God, exactly? If he isn’t active in our lives (or at least when it comes to healing) when did He stop? (Because he clearly at least USED to be involved in this sort of thing.) If he is active in our lives even to this day, what is God’s ultimate purpose? What is He trying to accomplish on this earth right now? I believe one’s answer to this question has a direct impact on whether one believes in divine healing.

See you NEXT Tuesday!

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